Meltdown at the Oz, Part II

Following the bizarre attack on Clive Hamilton a few weeks ago, the Oz editorial page gives a full length response to the various online sources (mostly not named, but Peter Brent at Mumble cops the most flak, and Crikey is obviously an intended target) who bagged Tuesday’s silly beatup of a no-news opinion poll. Not only that, it seems that a post at Tim Dunlop’s blogocracy, commenting on the editorial, has been removed. Naturally, the blogosphere has gone to town on this. LP has commentary and heaps of links, many pointing out the absurdity of relying on the “preferred PM” question, not that you need a blog on this point

But the silliest thing doesn’t come until the end, where the editorial says

It reflects how out of touch with ordinary views so many on-line commentators are. They claim to understand the mainstream but in reality represent a clique that believes what it considers to be the evils of the Howard Government position on Iraq, climate change, and Work Choices to be self-evident truths. They despair that Mr Howard has not suffered the same collapse in public support as US President George W Bush and Newspoll makes it clear Mr Howard still enjoys very strong support in the electorate.

Say what? There’s ample opinion poll evidence to show that on Iraq, Workchoices and climate change, it’s the Oz and the government who are hopelessly out of touch with ordinary views.

As for saying that “Newspoll makes it clear Mr Howard still enjoys very strong support in the electorate”, this is a piece of question-begging even more absurd than the original article. I think it’s safe to say that the main emotion felt on the left, when reading the results of Newspoll and its competitors, is not despair but fear that they are too good to be true.

If a blogger was writing pieces like this in response to relatively restrained criticism of a silly post, I’d anticipate reading a “Farewell” post in the near future, or possibly just finding the site taken down. I don’t know exactly what the mainstream media equivalent would be, but clearly the Oz knows it is in big trouble.

6 thoughts on “Meltdown at the Oz, Part II

  1. The interesting part of the editorial is that the editor, despite rubbishing opinions written in the blogoshere, states that there is an elite clique at work.

    This shows how out of touch the editor is – like his mentor Mr Howard. People – previously unknown to each other – discuss ideas on-line, outside the Australian’s editorial policies. Not reporting the news, but looking at sources and discussing those findings: uncontrolled by the mainstream media. Uncontrolled by anyone in some cases.

    The editor should worry about the tenor of so many blogs rather than saying implicitly “You just don’t know what’s going on!”.

    That is the point, we can’t rely on the Oz to tell us the full story. The Oz reported the Children Overboard story for weeks before the 2001 election. The inconvenient truth was not revealed until much later.

    I read the editorial today after prompting from Prof Q. Oz editorials are often tedious and repetitive. It was hard to finish again today.

    Workchoices, Iraq, AWB, the environment and the constant refrain that families have never had it so good, have taken a toll on many people.
    People know that Workchoices is no good for them and their families as they can be sacked unfairly, housing is expensive, and that combined with the steep rise in groceries in the last few months, creates a lot of worry.

    The problem for The Australian is that without the on-line users, readership is low. No wonder the editor is lashing out.

  2. The Oz reported the Children Overboard story for weeks before the 2001 election. The inconvenient truth was not revealed until much later.

    To be fair, the Oz broke the true story of Children Overboard a couple of days before the election. However, it didn’t seem to make a difference.

    I’m truly startled at the bizarre behaviour from the Oz editorial team. They have genuinely seemed to take the American approach to freedom of speech where it is better out in public and free to be attacked, than suppressed. Then they try threaten Clive Hamilton with defamation laws(!) to stop him picking on them, and censor Tim Dunlop. Talk about your disproportionate responses. And it is likely it will blow straight back in their faces.

    Actually given their heavy support for the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the 80s and their equally weighty support for the current Iraq debacle, it is probably not surprising they have picked up the habit of creating blowback. Lie down with dogs….

  3. The Oz today has a link to Newspoll trend data that shows quite clearly that the government does not “enjoy very strong support” at all, accompanied by an article written by Dennis Shanahan that is, for once, uncluttered with hype and come-backism. I wonder if it being posted at 1am is an indication of the long, slow painful process he went through writing it?

  4. Don’t forget that the Oz has to sell papers. I’m sure they have noticed a surge in hits on the editorial column whenever they write a passionate piece of polemic such as this.

    Perhaps they are descending to over-emotional, aggressive editorialising in true tabloid fashion to pick up their readership?

    If so, you could be playing into their hands.

    “Just don’t look”

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